In other words, thank you for everything you do. Appreciate the photos!
Appreciate that Rebecca! All the love goes to the awesome community who make it possible :)
TL;DR: $17,658.62 per month (at least that's what it was in this February).
If you were like me, and wondered how they make money to cover these costs, here you go - https://www.quora.com/How-does-unsplash-com-make-money
Thanks! this is exactly why I came to the comments.
I'm sure it brings them referrals to Crew, but I wonder if it brings $17k a month worth of referrals? I'd feel better if I knew Unsplash itself was monetized too…
More companies should do this!!
If you meant more companies should be transparent and seek help or input for failing or unclear paths to success:
Hell yes they should. Agree with you. Because they often don't we read these sad "we sold to X and we're shutting down next month" announcements. These unsustainable businesses are crazy.
If you meant more companies should start "Unsplashes":
Not trying to be rude here, but more companies starting 18k/mo burn rate (that's not including the costs to build and maintain these services with not-cheap engineering), with no revenue stream and no funding is definitely not something more companies should do.
Thanks for the thoughts Aubrey, see below re funding
Thanks Ian! I agree :)
This was a great read, thanks for posting this!
Love Unsplash. Thanks for everything!
Pretty wild how this has spun from a Tumblr blog into the scale and destination it is now.
I see the business value, and can appreciate Unaplash as a marketing tool for Crew.
Thanks Jon :) We're still blown away by it. The community behind it is insanely passionate and talented
Wow that's insane!
18k is non-trivial and I'm guessing this post is because of the burn rate. Moving to AWS and reducing costs significantly seems like a salient choice. Not sure why that can't happen?
I wonder if hosting a hire-a-real-photographer board seems like a great way to capture revenue (photogs pay to post) and build a bridge for photographers? This would also allow them to make money instead of making them annoyed at a "Free photo site." It'd probably get more photogs on the platform too which is going to continue to move pageviews up and revenue potential up.
On the search results page - that there is no advertising (or even organic advertising through a influencer network) seems like a missed opportunity to at least cover the costs of Keen and Logentries.
Defaulting grid view (not sure if that costs more?) and having some of those grid items contain a decent network ad is absolutely acceptable from a user standpoint (this whole thing is freeeeeeeeeee! please don't let it go away). At least doing this on the search page because you can segment query results data with different value ads/networks/placements.
Down to be wrong about any/all of this but I like Unsplash and would love to see it actually be a sweet business too.
Appreciate the thoughts.
I've got a post coming out soon which details why we use services like Heroku and Imgix to outsource a lot of our core services. TLDR: devops + a IaaS (like AWS) is more expensive and difficult to ship quickly based on our team and product (may not be true for all startups). Heroku, for example, gives us review apps, a deploy pipeline, simple scaling, easy configuration, security patches, backups, etc. all out of the box for every one of our projects and services. It's so simple that our frontends and designers make infrastructure changes.
We don't advertise because none of the current opportunities are worth it vs the experience they provide for users. We very much have plans to monetize in the future and believe me, we think about it a lot, but we're committed to doing it in a way that preserves the experience of the site, what makes sense for our community and the amazing photographers, and gives us the best shot at building something truly unique in the long-run.
We are funded by investors and we currently provide referrals to our parent company Crew. Unsplash is not going away :)
Awesome points! Thanks for the reply! :)
Thanks for sharing, Luke. Is the company now split between the two products (crew.co and unsplash) with staff choosing which to join? If so, how did that all work out for you? Sounds scary...
About a year ago we started building a separate team for Unsplash inside of Crew. Everyone has been new hires and we've built the two teams side-by-side. With the exception of Mikael (who's the CEO of Crew), everyone works full time on either Crew or Unsplash. There was a point where a few of us tried to help on both products, but it became far too difficult to prioritize things, since it was hard to figure out what was more important: Feature A for Crew or Feature B for Unsplash.
I think that could make a very interesting article at some point — how and why we split the teams the way we did, and all the processes and mechanics involved in running a company inside of another company, while trying to make both grow.